EIP-3074 Explained in Simple Terms

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Ethereum developers are gearing up for a major upgrade scheduled for early 2025. Several Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) from third-party contributors have already passed the approval stage and are now in progress. One noteworthy proposal is EIP-3074.
EIP-3074 is a proposed change to the Ethereum protocol that would allow Externally Owned Accounts (EOAs) to perform functions traditionally reserved for smart contracts.

This modification would enable blockchain clients to use their Ethereum wallets for more complex operations, not just sending and receiving ETH. Detailed features of the update can be found in the developers' documentation on the official site, eips.ethereum.org.

Let's explore some additional features that will become available if EIP-3074 is implemented.

Transaction Funding by Third Parties

With EIP-3074, friends or merchants could cover the gas fees for your transactions—a crucial feature for newcomers or those without sufficient ETH to carry out needed transactions. 

This would be facilitated through what’s called an “invoker contract,” a special type of smart contract that acts as a mediator between the sponsor and the recipient. It stipulates the conditions agreed upon by both parties, ensuring funds are only directed to the address that the sponsor intends to support in paying the fees.

EIP-3074 introduces mechanisms by which every invoker must be thoroughly vetted, tested, and certified as safe by the community. 

This proposal outlines several methods for transaction sponsorship:

1. Delegation: This feature allows you to delegate limited control over your wallet to another user or a smart contract. This delegate would have the authority to sign transactions on your behalf, using their own funds to pay for the gas. While this might raise security concerns, it is crucial to await community feedback for a clearer safety assessment.

2. Third-party Funding: You can enable other users to finance your transactions. This method involves creating a dedicated address to receive ETH, which will solely be used to cover gas expenses.

3. Using Third-party Platforms: This involves launching autonomous decentralized platforms that allow users to pay transaction fees for others for a nominal fixed fee. This option is particularly appealing to those who are reluctant to delegate wallet access or create a funding-specific address.

Asset Recovery in Case of Private Key Loss

One of the key features introduced in the EIP-3074 document is the "social recovery" function. 

This process allows a user to regain access to their wallet through a backup held by a trusted group of individuals.

How social recovery works:

  1. The user creates a backup of their private key, which can be stored either as a file or on a hardware wallet.
  2. This backup is divided into several pieces, each given to a trusted individual who can assist in restoring access to the funds if the private key is lost.
  3. The pieces are stored in separate contracts, accessible only to those who have received a piece of the backup.
  4. If the user loses their private key, they can request help from their trusted contacts. These contacts provide the backup pieces, which are then combined to restore access to the wallet.

A potential risk is that the trusted group might collude to unauthorizedly combine the key fragments. However, such a scheme is unlikely to be executed without the owner's explicit request. 

Batch Transactions

EIP-3074 will enable the sending of multiple transactions at once to conserve on gas costs, which can be covered by sponsors. Additionally, it allows users to configure their own logic for determining when transactions are executed. 

This feature is especially useful given that gas prices vary not only with network load but also according to the time of day.

In essence, EIP-3074 builds upon ERC-4337, which also facilitates the recovery of lost keys and the execution of transactions without the need for gas fees. The difference lies in the scope of operation—while ERC-4337 applies to abstract accounts (combining external user accounts and contract entries), EIP-3074 interacts with specific fund delivery addresses, effectively turning ordinary addresses into fully operational smart contracts.